Dismantling expectations: Nicole Miller’s future in advertising

Contact: Amy Coughenour

Nicole Miller

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University senior Nicole Miller of Monee, Illinois, doesn’t see herself fitting within the stereotypical box of advertising. Billboards and Sunday Night Football ads are what immediately come to mind, but Miller wants to step outside that norm and discover the future of advertising. Creativity alone won’t break down established walls, but with her second major in leadership and business strategy, she’ll have the skills to set herself apart. 

“I chose my majors because I knew I wanted to be creative, work diligently with a team and be able to take an idea and turn it into a reality. I also knew I had leadership skills through experiences in high school, so I wanted to nurture those skills and grow them into something that can be applied in the real world.”

Advertising has given Miller the independence to explore different promotional methods. 

“One unique characteristic of my field is that it’s so fast paced and ever-changing. I believe as advertisers we have distinct opportunities within social media platforms and services consumers use daily. It allows us to be more inventive working with advertisements in these ways,” she says.

Having a strong support system empowers creatives. Being able to receive advice and grow in the industry doesn’t happen without mentors and friends. Miller found those roles filled by many people. 

Dr. Douglas Lepisto, associate professor of management and co-director of the Center for Principled Leadership and Business Strategy, has been the most influential,” she says. “He always challenges and pushes me to reach my fullest potential. Being uplifted and supported like this really helps students flourish. I’m also so grateful for some of the student mentors I have at WMU Haworth such as Jake Myers and Olivia Neitzke.”

Miller has been developing her craft through her media account manager position at the Center for Principled Leadership and Business Strategy. There, she’s able to simulate the experience of working in a team with creative individuals with an on-campus job.

“This role has been super influential in my career because it’s an opportunity that most students don’t have access to in regular internships. I can practice the exact skills I will need for my future job and am able to work with a team of other media students. We run the media team exactly like a media team at a professional company.”

The highlight for Miller during her time at Western has been being awarded the G.W. and Edna M. Haworth Principled Leadership Scholarship.

“Being able to lead a team in my leadership and business strategy classes was rewarding because I was able to help grow the skills of my fellow students,” she says. “Getting recognized for my efforts through the scholarship was even more rewarding because other people saw the progress we all made, too.”

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